Dear Editor: Thank you for the excellent editorial regarding the proposed mining project threatening the Okefenokee Swamp. This controversial plan has garnered enormous public attention because the Oke is beloved by many people of all political stripes in Georgia and around the world. In fact, over 60,000 people submitted comments to the federal government in opposition to the mine last year and earlier this year.
However, Senator Perdue’s involvement bears further scrutiny since he’s run for re-election based on “draining the swamp” in Washington, and maybe some of your readers who are still undecided may think even harder about their vote next week.
Twin Pines Minerals, the Alabama mining company proposing the project, has spent over $340,000 to lobby and support Senator Perdue’s re-election. In exchange, internal emails show Perdue’s Legislative Director and other staff met repeatedly with the Corps right after the contributions were made and discussed Twin Pines’ request to unwind the environmental investigation and permitting process. The last lobbyist contribution to Perdue happened one day before the Corps’ announcement that no permit would be required, which will save the company millions and years of time.
What makes this pay-to-play scheme even worse is Twin Pines’ and its executives’ track record. Twin Pines lied to the Corps and Georgia EPD about having a lease to mine on adjacent land, it committed numerous environmental violations at its mine in Florida, and its affiliated biomass operations run by Georgia Renewable Power have wreaked havoc with public health, property rights, and the environment as you have reported so thoroughly.
The bottom line is, just as we helped Dupont conclude long ago, the risk is simply too great to strip mine the natural dam that formed and protects the Swamp. Instead of selling out the Swamp to corrupt and polluting coal miners from Alabama, Senator Perdue should put Georgia and its greatest natural treasure ahead of politics and personal gain.
Attorney and consultant in Sandy Springs